I'm Not a Pig in Underpants

Elwood H. Smith. Creative Editions, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-56846-229-5
Smith's pen-and-ink creatures owe an acknowledged debt to Herriman's Krazy Kat gang—they have the same beanbag noses and beads of sweat jumping off them as they dash through their manic lives. The narrator, whose eyes are seen in a mirror but is otherwise off-camera, has undergone a Kafkaesque metamorphosis and asks readers to find out what it has become: "Am I somebody else? Will you help me out, please?" The pages that follow list a succession of oddball animals the narrator is not, and the alternatives Smith (Señor Pancho Had a Rancho) dreams up, like the underpants-wearing pig of the title, are plenty entertaining on their own. "Nor am I a cockroach," the narrator says as two cockroaches sitting companionably atop a toaster. "I love burnt raisins!" the first announces. "Me, too!" says the second. Enough hints are dropped to make the narrator's revelation that it's an elephant obvious, but there's another surprise in the wings. Really, though, it's Smith's nonexistent creatures ("I'm not an orange butterfly using a spoon./ I'm not a wet octopus playing bassoon") that are the story's true stars. Ages 5–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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